Why the Next Generation is the Deaf Generation How Earbuds Are Leading to Early Hearing Loss in Young Adults


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There is a plague spreading quickly America — almost in a Walking Dead kind of way. The only difference is that it attends to affect most millennials and preteens, with those younger and older being safe for now. What’s this mystery plague? Hearing loss!

Did you know that one in five teenagers are experiencing premature and perhaps even hidden hearing loss? In fact, it’s almost as though for the first time in history, the younger generations are experiencing hearing loss at a much faster rate than baby boomers and older generations! And why is this so? It’s not because of ear nose and throat (ENT) issues such as sinus infections that have spread to the ear canal, cholesteatoma and other chronic ear problems, or other common ENT problems. It’s actually because of some the newfangled technology that kids these days use, with the main culprit being ear buds.

Made popular by Apple after the advent and release of the first generation iPhone, earbuds are those mini headphones that look like little “buds” and fit directly into your ear. Since they fit directly into your ear, they provide superior sound quality, clarity, and depth. But for as amazing as they sound, they’re also responsible for causing the rapid spread of hearing loss amongst teens, twenty somethings, and millennials.

Back in the day, some of the most common causes for hear loss included congenital abnormalities of the ear and old age. Fast forward to today, and ear buds are one of the main culprits. That’s because nowadays, everyone is constantly plugged or wired into their mobile devices. All of that exposure to high volume media can and will take its toll on hearing and will eventually lead to hearing loss.

In order to reduce the chances of experiencing hearing loss, ear, nose, and throat doctors as well as hearing specialists recommend following the 60/60 rule of thumb, which encourages listening to your music at 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. This gives your ears a chance to rest and doesn’t expose them to an unsafe volume for prolonged periods of time. Many hearing loss, ear, nose, and throat doctors as well as hearing specialists also suggest using larger, over hear head phones instead of ear buds.

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